I thought about posting these on Encounter-a-Day, but I’ve pretty much abandoned that blog and only leave it up for posterity… Rather not get people into the habit of checking it.
Goblins in the setting I’m working on worship The Great Machine, a titanic contraption of indeterminate purpose. Every few years, Goblins living out in the world feel a pull to return to their island home of Splockengrack and work on the machine, adding to it or fixing things as whim dictates.
Goblins do not reproduce like most races; rather, they are spontaneously generated within The Great Machine. This isn’t to say that the machine creates them, however; rather, Goblins simply appear, fully formed, through spontaneous generation.
The purpose of the machine, if indeed it has one, is unknown. The goblins believe it to have been created by an entity named Anaximander, who some revere as a god and others simply believe to be the first to begin work on the machine.
There is some evidence that the machine serves a greater purpose. Hundreds of years ago, the fey and the prime material planes mingled freely, and various fey creatures could come to and leave the prime material as they wished. The Shan’torathos, an immensely powerful Elvish empire, actually invaded the prime material and controlled it for generations.
During this time, the Shan’torathos systematically exterminated goblins where ever they could be found. Goblins are magically neutral, unable to wield but also unable to be affected directly by magic, and for this reason the elves saw the goblins as a threat.
Over the years, the prime material and the fey were plagued with natural disasters, steadily increasing in both frequency and intensity. It culminated with The Sundering, where the fey actually ceased to exist.
The loss of the fey was catastrophic to the elves; not only was it their home, but it sustained them as well. The elves became arcanovores, feeding on arcane energy to live. To this day, all elves must learn at least some modicrum of arcane magic simply to keep themselves alive.
With the decline of the Shan’torathos, the goblin population was able to return to its previous healthy levels and, coincidentally, the natural disasters tapered off. This has lead some scholars to posit that The Great Machine is somehow vital to the very health of the world.